It is certainly a good and comforting vision, one that holds much promise for the positive. Though the promises of elections seasons must be taken with a healthy dose of salt, regardless of the source, there is much to applaud about what the president has now stated on the campaign trail.
He is talking about removing from the GPF immigration services, gun licences, and vehicle fitness.
Elections seasons are the time for intriguing promises, and in this mother of all elections, no group is desirous of being left behind. But, as with all solemn elections promises and stirring manifestos, from past experience, the salt taken should be of the Epsom variety, so that matters pass through the system rapidly.
Guyanese experience warns that during these times, local politicians make more promises than a serial bigamist. It has been the usual case of jilting and the disappearing that follows.
If all three planks of what His Excellency placed before the public can be made to happen (and they make for commonsense), by any political group once in office, then it is an overdue step in the right direction.
It could bring much relief to the always handicapped and hurting Guyanese public. To put a different way, it is difficult to imagine that wherever such services are moved to could be more onerous, or more plagued with hidden costs and unofficial sanctions, and that which is the widely known and experienced norm in the bailiwick that is the Guyana Police Force.
These three routine services handled by the GPF have assumed the settled culture of a favour being done, and for which there is a cost. Supplicant citizens have to come almost with hat in hand and on bended knee, since they are held to ransom.
It is helpful and powerful to have wallet open too and readiness to share. There is the extracting of a price for a passport especially one that has to be replaced on the run or under suspicious circumstances, such as deliberate destruction of the document to conceal some criminal development (or one that is intended).
As for gun licences, it is a public secret that it is a most lucrative of responsibilities, with seven figure numbers being called. Lots of names, too, of which some are political, while the rest are embedded in the higher levels of the GPF.
It seems as though everybody knows someone, who can make that coveted gun licence come complete with ribbon and smiles for a job well done and a grand time had by all. It is way past the time to move these things to more reliable and possibly cleaner bodies on the outside.
The exercise of obtaining vehicular fitness can turn out to be the comedy of a litany of faults, each of which has a price tag, and which none has either the patience, the time, or interest to navigate or negotiate.
Thus, matters have been reduced to submission of the going price to assure that one’s machine is certified as a going concern for another year. The circumstances are also ripe for this fraud (admittedly low on the scale of corruption and exploitation) to be put to a sudden death.
The evidence is available: the whispered, sometimes not so secretive lifestyle, the aggregation of gaudy trophies that simply could not come from the pittance that the police pay.
If everyone were to have such inheritances or generous overseas-based families, then this country would have no use for its oil. In fact, the planned political offerings of cash handouts may not find many takers, since the intended recipients are so overloaded with the plunder that flows from the misuse and the mangling, for profit, of duties and tasks handed down by the state to unscrupulous servants.
It is time that the GPF has a competent cohort to man what functions as a bona fide Internal Affairs Division.
Given the level of wrongdoing, suspected and alleged at various levels, there has to be such a unit. In this season, the musical promises keep coming; maybe somebody will deliver this time around.
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